It is Halloween! I would be posting a fabulous photo from Thompson Street but I have a new computer and haven't learned how to do that on the new format. I used to use an HP pc but my daughter gave me an Apple Laptop and I have to wait till she comes home again to teach me how to get the pictures from where they are saved into my blog.
Today I visited Fort Nassau Graphics for my 2nd estimate for the printing of my 3rd book. As I have mentioned before, after I retired from teaching, I wrote a book based on two WPA employees working on the State Guide Series. One, a photographer (based loosely on Dorothea Lange) and the other, a young entirely fictional male writer. They drove the back roads of South Jersey writing essays and taking photos of 1937 New Jersey.
Trouble Publishing. I had given my manuscript to a publisher, but he said he was more interested in Beach Novels, murder mysteries and such. History has never been all that popular, so I wasn't surprised, but a little downcast. If you have ever written a book, you know the immense labor that goes into it. However, I have always been something of a counter-culture person and an independent one, so I decided that I would get it printed on my own.
Before I retired, I had worked in a summer program and we too the students on field trips. One of these summer field trips was to Fort Nassau Printing Company. So I started my search there, but, to my surprise, they were GONE! Moved! So I went to Belia Copy Center in Woodbury and asked after Fort Nassau. At the time, the quote they gave me when I finally located them, but near $1000. Bella had also given me the name of another printer, Perfect Printing, in Morristown. They quoted $700.
That quote was for 200 pages, black and white, glued binding. So I went with them and was pleased with the product, so when I wrote my next book, a kind of relationship novel, I had them print that one too.
All of that was in 2006. I just finished my 3rd book, a whole new genre, a memoir. It is called 1969: A Road Trip and it covers a year when I was 23, newly married, and my then soldier-husband and I stayed in a VW camper van for almost a year and traveled around 38 countries in Europe after his discharge from the army.
I decided to write the book because two fellows who called themselves my "fan club" had said the thing they liked most about my historical novel Black Horse White Horse, was that it was a road trip. That made me think back to my biggest road trip of a great many road trips I had taken in my youth, and I decided to write about it.
So, back to getting a book printed. After I wrote the book, a dear friend and superior editor did a first edit for spelling, punctuation, what we English teachers call 'mechanics' and even though I was an English teacher, I have trouble seeing my own mistakes. After she returned the manuscript, I made the corrections. Then I had my daughter do an edit for content and style. She made many suggestions about details, and expansion of thoughts and feelings, and I incorporated her changes, edit #2. Then Nancy, my mechanics editor did another run through and I made those fixes (#3).
Meanwhile I had put in a call to Perfect Printing, but not having heard anything back, I stopped back at Belia and asked if they did such printing. They said they did and would give me a quote. I waited. No one got back to me, so I tracked down Fort Nassau and found out where they had moved (using the internet of course) and made an appointment to see them. In the mean time, Perfect Printing got in touch and gave me an estimate.
As you might have expected, over the span of a decade, prices rose, and the new estimate was $830. I kept my appointment with Fort Nassau this morning, and they said they would have an estimate for me by the end of the day, so then I will choose between the two and by tomorrow, my book, on a thumb drive, will be with one of them.
My next question will be how long it will take to get it back. I'd like to have it for my next Writer's club in November and for my next Merchantville High School Reunion Luncheon in December.
They used to call "Independent Publishing" Vanity press, implying that if you weren't 'good enough' for a publisher, you could pay to have someone print your implied inferior work. But my feeling, and the prevailing attitude is that publishers being necessarily in it for the profits can't afford to publish 'niche' works or works they can't be guaranteed a profit on, so independent publishing has proliferated for those of us who have something to say that doesn't necessarily include a murder mystery, or a spy chase.
So now you know: Perfect Printing, Glenn Ave., Morristown (on the web) or Fort Nassau Graphics, Imperial Way, Paulsboro (on the web, but don't use the address West Deptford on your gps, use Paulsboro) and Belia, Woodbury. But I still haven't heard from Belia, so I will choose between Fort Nassau or Perfect Printing. I'll let you know how it all turns out and if you have a book and want to 'independently publish' go for it. People spend less on two weeks in Florida or a cruise, and a book lasts longer!